Jason Garrett gets Cowboys to play hard

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Jason Garrett gets Cowboys to play hard
By Tim MacMahon

So that’s what the Cowboys look like when they play hard, huh?

It’s been awhile since the Cowboys’ effort wasn’t questioned after a game. Players mostly denied that they mailed it in the last few games of the Wade Phillips era, but there were instances when it was obvious to anybody who watched.

But there was no doubt about the Cowboys’ effort in Sunday’s win over the Giants. New York led the NFC East in large part due to physically overpowering opponents with its running game and pass rush, neither of which were factors in Dallas’ upset win at New Meadowlands Stadium.

“I think our guys did play hard,” interim coach Jason Garrett said. “I think they fought each and every play, I think they fought for each other, I think they fought through different adversities.”

The Cowboys’ poster boy for quitting, cornerback Mike Jenkins, certainly didn’t shy away from contact. He actually had a big hit that forced an Ahmad Bradshaw fumble. Jenkins injured his neck later that drive making a tackle, paying a price for playing as hard as he did.

Give Garrett, who was handed the game ball by linebacker Bradie James in the locker room, credit for setting the tone. He made it clear from the moment he first addressed his team as the head coach that there would be high standards for effort.

“Within five minutes of the meeting, it was very clear — his approach, his demeanor, his message, exactly where he stands and expects from us,” linebacker Keith Brooking said. “It’s not just one guy buying in. It’s not just 20 guys buying in. It’s 53 guys plus practice squad, plus all the coaches and everybody buying in. It’s got to be all in. It takes everyone and we did that.”

The only question now is why it didn’t happen the previous few games.

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